First NATO Country sends powerful surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine to shoot down Russian aircraft and cruise missiles

An S-300 anti-aircraft missile launches during a Greek army military exercise near Chania on the island of Crete on December 13, 2013. Costas Metaxakis/AFP via Getty Images
  • Slovakia said it sent Ukraine an S-300 air defense system to defend against Russian attacks.
  • The Soviet-era S-300 is a long-range surface-to-air missile system that can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft.
  • The small Eastern European country is the first NATO member to send Ukraine such advanced weaponry.

Slovakia Prime Minister Eduard Heger has confirmed that it had sent its S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, becoming the first NATO country to answer the calls by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to supply powerful missile weaponry.

The S-300 is a Soviet-era long-range surface-to-air missile system that can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft and has a range of up to 90 miles.

It is considered one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems and is in the arsenal of three NATO countries: Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

NATO countries have begun to step up their support of Ukraine by sending more heavy-duty weaponry as Russia’s invasion continues.

The Czech Republic became the first NATO country to send tanks to Ukraine earlier this week, as a Czech defense source told Reuters.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told AP on Thursday that individual NATO countries were planning to increase the supply of weapons to Ukraine following recent atrocities but did not provide details.

As an organization, NATO has refused to send weapons or troops to non-member Ukraine, but individual countries can choose to act.

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